Friday, November 30, 2012

US Food Aid and a Simple Argument for Local Procurement

Few months before the 2012 presidential election, political pundits were surprised by the high level bipartisan support reflected in the Senate version of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, or the Farm Bill as it’s commonly known. Even though the House quickly followed with its own version, political calculations prevented the bill to be brought to the floor.

Thanks to the reelection of President Obama, there is a renewed effort to conclude and make into law a final version of the 2012 Farm Bill before end of the year. The current House and the Senate versions of the Farm Bill, however, present drastically contrasting approaches to Food Aid. While the House seeks to maintain the policy of sending American in-kind food to developing countries, the Senate has put forward a mechanism to procure food closer to where it’s needed – the Local and Regional Procurement Program (LRP).

With a political mandate to address the country’s fiscal realities and increase government program effectiveness, policymakers of both parties can find in the LRP the unique opportunity to simultaneously save tax-payers’ dollars and make food aid more effective.  

For more info, check out the infographic below and a new report published by Oxfam and AJWS. Also, don't miss the good research from GAO and the Cornell folks